Australia’s coal sector is taking action against activists by launching a website to give a voice to those who support the industry.
The Minerals Council of Australia has announced the new website – Australians for coal- will act to give “the silent majority of Australians who support coal a voice against the activists and extremists who want to tear the sector down”.
It says the website will set the record straight on a number of issues surrounding the coal sector including community support, job numbers, economic value and the environment.
The move by the council, which is backed by the country’s biggest miners including BHP, Rio Tinto and Glencore, comes as well-organised activists continue to attack the industry.
MCA chief Brendan Pearson said says there is strong support for the coal sector across the country.
“Australiansforcoal.com.au will give the majority of Australians who support the coal sector a chance to have a say and not allow a small number of noisy extremists to create the false impression that the community does not support Australia’s second largest export sector,” Pearson said.
He said campaigns to create fear around the coal industry in the hope to end production would fail.
“The campaign to end coal production and exports will fail, not least because the activists cannot explain what will be used to build the bridges, schools, hospitals and the fast trains of the future.”
“Every tonne of steel produced in basic oxygen furnaces contains about 770 kilograms of coal. And without coal there will be no wind energy - there is 250 tonnes of coal in every wind turbine.”
It is understood the campaign will also include TV ads and a robust social media program.
Coal mining heavyweights have been uncharacteristically verbal of late around what the coal industry offers, and the challenges it is facing.
BHP Billiton and Glencore coal bosses have come out over the past few weeks to talk candidly about the sector.
They say while the commodity faces a strong future in terms of demand, other factors including government policies and productivity issues put the squeeze on the sector, and both have said community support is needed to enact change.
BHP’s coal boss, Dean Dalla Valle, said coal is often “maligned and misunderstood”.
“As an industry our job is to tell our story and highlight coal’s far reaching and social economic contribution,” he said.
While Glencore Australian coal boss Peter Freyberg said industry, businesses and communities needed to work together to “find a path forward” amidst rising costs and lower commodity prices.